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AICN & Twitch Present International Eye Candy: FRUITY SAMURAI, THE LOST BLADESMAN, THE BLACK POWER MIXTAPE 1967-1975, And More!, RANDOM 11, , YAKUZA WEAPON,THE BLACK POWER MIXTAPE 1967-1975, And More!!

International Eye Candy

March 28th, 2011

Though I know I promised to be more punctual after the last edition of the International Eye Candy, transcontinental travel, jetlag, and dodgy internet access have conspired against me. I’m writing this now from a dusty film studio in Jakarta where – thirty or so feet away from me – Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian and the rest of the MERANTAU team are beating the holy hell out of each other in the name of your entertainment. But enough of that, we may be a couple days late but here comes the latest edition of International Eye Candy. This time out it’s a double dose of VERSUS star Tak Sakaguchi with trailers for YAKUZA WEAPON and DEAD BALL, a Norwegian sex comedy, a scifi short from the guy who almost directed AKIRA, we’ve got Die Antwoord rolling around in wheelchairs and we’ve got FRUITY SAMURAI. Get ready, ‘cause here we go!


We’re going to kick things off in Malaysia where arthouse darling Woo Ming Jin – his latest effort THE TIGER FACTORY screened in Cannes last year – has taken a surprising turn into horror territory with SERU. Details are scarce at the moment but I’m told the film incorporates elements of animist black magic in its story of a production crew slaughtered in the remote jungle. Yep, it looks to be shot in moc-doc style but it’s got a fresh energy to it that makes it pretty compelling. Find the SERU trailer here


Last week I was wandering the halls of the Hong Kong Filmart – the largest film sales market in Asia – which is where I discovered the wonderful world of the FRUITY SAMURAI. Produced by a Japanese CG animation outfit that mostly produces station indent spots and support bits for the commercial industry as a way of blowing off steam on something that’s actually fun, these things are just absolutely fantastic. Picture your favourite classic samurai movie. And I don’t mean the goofy ones, I mean the serious classics. Something with Toshiro Mifune. Then imagine the tone of those transposed into animation. Then replace all the samurai’s heads with pieces of fruit. Awesome. Find the FRUITY SAMURAI here


Ruairi Robinson’s scifi short BLINKY – with WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE’s Max Records in the lead – has appeared in these pages before though, at that time, all we had to share was the teaser. Well, Robinson has done us all a big favour by putting the complete short online now. Robinson is quickly becoming recognized within the industry as one of the best directors in the world to have not yet made a feature. His short films are amazing and his name pops up from time to time as a possibility for some big project or another. He was attached to direct AKIRA at one point and left that just before making BLINKY instead. My hunch is that was a good move. Find the BLINKY short film here


Off we go now to Hong Kong where we find Donnie Yen sporting a long – and obviously fake – beard in upcoming period set martial arts epic THE LOST BLADESMAN. And you know what? I’ll forgive Donnie the bad facial hair because he’s also got himself a big ass spear and he knows how to use it. Directing duo Alan Mak and Felix Chong haven’t really made a good film in ... well ... it’s been a good long while, they’ve basically been coasting off their writing credit for INFERNAL AFFAIRS ever since but the trailer for this one is good fun. Find the new LOST BLADESMAN trailer here


Any fans of the Oscar winning ONCE out there? Well, the real life musical and romantically inclined duo that won the little gold guy for that movie are known together as THE SWELL SEASON, their Oscar win propelling them to a level of fame and visibility that they had never known before. And soon to screen at Tribeca is the story of the duo and their life post-win and how they dealt with the sudden pressures of fame. I’m a sucker for a good music film and this certainly appears to be one. Find the SWELL SEASON trailer here



What’s that? You want some Die Antwoord? Well, here they are, Yolandi Visser and Ninja from the South African group starring in Harmony Korine’s new short film Umshini Wan. Left to their own devices Die Antwoord are a weird lot. Left to his own devices Harmony Korine is also rather weird. Put them together and what do you think you get? The complete short is now online. Watch all of UMSHINI WAN here


There’s just something about Tak Sakaguchi. Though the films he stars in are not always particularly good – or good at all – Tak himself just has this sort of mysterious appeal that makes him immensely likeable. He’s like Jason Statham that way, the bad stuff rolls off him without leaving a stain as he moves on to the next bit of silliness. I’ve loved the guy since he first turned up in VERSUS and now he has teamed up with that film’s producer, Yudai Yamaguchi, to co-direct and star in YAKUZA WEAPON. This is one of the new titles from Sushi Typhoon – the people behind HELLDRIVER and KARATE ROBO ZABORGAR – so you know basically what you’re getting here. It’s all about the goofy comedy, ultraviolence and occasional dose of gore. Oh, and this one also features a character known simply as the Naked Human Weapon. Having seen the film I can say conclusively that she delivers everything you could possibly hope from that moniker. Find the YAKUZA WEAPON trailer here


German short film AARGH may be my favourite piece in this edition of the IEC. The film is a deliciously dry comedy moc-doc following the life of Aargh, a former Japanese movie star starting a new life as an employee of the Berlin zoo. The comedy, of course, comes from the fact that Aargh looks for all intents and purposes like he was moulded from clay. The animation work on this and integration of character with real world is absolutely fantastic but it’s the storytelling that ultimately seals the deal. Watch the AARGH trailer here


Tony Ukpo’s UK based thriller RANDOM 11 is an odd one, a film strangely out of place and time. IDEAL’s Haruka Abe stars in the lead, playing a crime solving prodigy trying to track down the meaning of eleven seemingly random identical killings. Ukpo is clearly taking cues from some of the great Japanese thrillers of the late 90s here but the feel is something entirely his own. Intriguing. Find the new RANDOM 11 teaser here


Goran Hugo Olsson’s Sundance award winning doc THE BLACK POWER MIXTAPE 1967-1975 is due for release in Olsson’s native Sweden soon and so a new trailer for the film has arrived over there. Compiled entirely from vintage footage of the leaders of the black power movement this is fascinating, powerful stuff. Find the new BLACK POWER MIXTAPE trailer here


For something far less serious minded we bounce over to India now, where we find the trailer for Shah Rukh Khan starring massive budget, scifi tinged, superhero flick RA.ONE. India is involved in a serious game of one upmanship right now with a new film coming along seemingly every other week claiming to be the biggest, most expensive and, therefore, best film ever produced in that nation. RA.ONE is the current title holder. And, you know? It actually looks pretty good. Find the RA.ONE teaser here


There are certain constants in life. Gravity will always pull us down. Taxes will always go up. The Cubs will always lose. And high school graduates will always want to get drunk and get laid. This is what the central characters in upcoming Norwegian comedy GRADUATES are up to and given that it’s coming from the producers of DEAD SNOW you can be pretty certain that this isn’t going to be a particularly serious treatment of the topic. The vomit and breasts in the trailer may tip you off to that, too. Find the new GRADUATES teaser here


What’s this? Another new collaboration between Tak Sakaguchi and Yudai Yamaguchi? Why, yes it is. With DEAD BALL Yamaguchi directs solo with Sakaguchi in the lead role, so expect the ratio of silliness to action to tilt slightly more to the silly side of the spectrum. The film is some sort of spiritual cousin to the duo’s previous BATTLEFIELD BASEBALL with the characters once again taking to the diamond for an all out fight to the death. Very violent. Very fun. Find the DEAD BALL trailer here


One last pass through Hong Kong now, with the arrival of the trailer for Oxide Pang’s THE DETECTIVE 2. The first DETECTIVE was arguably the best solo film to date from the Pang Brother and it would appear that he’s smart enough not to fix what wasn’t broken. Aaron Kwok is back in the lead role with things once again revolving around a perplexing and potentially deadly investigation. It’s a good formula and Pang knows how to work it. Find the DETECTIVE 2 trailer here


With a title like INVASION OF THE ALIEN BIKINI how can you not be curious? Oh Young-doo’s latest ultra low budget creation took the top prize at Japan’s Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival recently so apparently the judges there thought the film itself managed to deliver the fun promised by the title. Find the INVASION OF ALIEN BIKINI trailer here


And, finally, we wrap things up in Japan where for as long as master animator Hayao Miyazaki has been talking about retiring – which is quite a long time – there has been speculation as to who will be ready to step into his shoes. These days it’s generally accepted that there are two main options. One is Mamoru Hosoda, the director of SUMMER WARS and THE GIRL WHO LEAPT THROUGH TIME. The other is Makoto Shinkai, whose latest film – CHILDREN WHO CHASE LOST VOICES FROM DEEP BELOW – arrives on Japanese screens in May. We’ve included an earlier teaser for the film in the IEC before but now we’ve got the full trailer as well. Find the CHILDREN WHO CHASE LOST VOICES trailer here

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